UK asks Bangladesh to open its education market for foreign institutions

The British Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, has said Bangladesh will gain if it opens local education market to greater competition.

Published : 7 April 2019, 07:34 PM
Updated : 7 April 2019, 07:34 PM

“This is good for the young people and good for the country,” he said while speaking at a seminar on governance and development on Sunday in Dhaka before concluding his two-day visit.

“That is why one of the things I shall be discussing with my counterparts on this visit is the possibility of opening the local education market to greater competition,” he said.

“Every time I come here, I am struck by the energy and talent of the people. I would very much like more of them to have the opportunity to benefit from the UK’s world class educational institutions,” Field said, adding that the UK stands ready to help invest in those young people.

Economist Ahsan H Mansur, Executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI), also urged the government to open up the market.

“There is an excellent education system (in the UK) and some of the universities can also think of having campuses in Bangladesh. Bangladesh also has some restrictions on opening foreign campuses.

“I’ll also urge our government to think about this in the interest of higher education of Bangladesh,” Mansur said. “We can have an open system where we can ensure better quality of education.”

“We should open up. Our students are going to Malaysia for studying in those universities. We can keep them here.”

He said this would be a new way of cooperation between the countries.

The British High Commission said Mark Field came to Dhaka on Thursday night to discuss “how the UK can help support and develop the higher education sector in Bangladesh”.

Discussions with a number of UK universities and local institutions are already taking place and the minister will discuss how the process can be streamlined to ensure UK degree programmes can be run in Bangladesh through branch campuses, with the approval of the University Grants Commission and the Bangladesh Ministry of Education, the High Commission had said.

“Bangladesh is changing rapidly, as demonstrated by its transition to Middle Income Country status, Field earlier said.

“Ensuring that economic success story continues means investing in its workforce and improving access to high-quality tertiary education. This is an area where our two countries can clearly work together for mutual benefit,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.